The Myth of “The Takers”: A Family’s Story

The Myth of “The Takers”: A Family’s Story

It may be fashionable to heap scorn on the imagined population who live comfortably off the kindness of makers, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Based on various research reports 38-55% of Americans are routinely living paycheck to paycheck, and 77% have –at one time or another – had to live that way. In fact, about 44% of Americans have less than $5,800 in their savings accounts, and only 35% are certain they could come up with the full amount if an unexpected need for $2,000 came up within the next month.

These are the folks –singles, families, seniors, veterans – who are served through your support of CLC. They come to us with stories about a variety of life events, and what becomes apparent is that a crisis is rarely the result of a single event. Take “Bill” who came to CLC asking for assistance with his current rent. These are the events that shaped his family’s crisis:

  • His wife had to stop working to care for her terminally ill father in Mississippi, so their monthly income was already reduced significantly
  • Bill was laid off from his supervisory position at a local company
  • He has applied for Unemployment benefits, but was not approved as of the date he contacted CLC
  • The rental property the family lives in was sold to a new investor, who promptly raised the rent

So, Bill had utility bills coming due and no way to pay them, and increased rent due.  In trying to manage the family’s basic needs, he voluntarily stopped taking his diabetes medication to conserve the money they had.

So, a dedicated two-income working family is brought low by a perfect storm of unexpected, unrelated events. A taker? No.  Bill is registered with Texas Workforce and vigorously looking for a full time position. He’s getting online financial budgeting training [which is required]. CLC provided partial rent assistance for the current month, made all utility payments, provided assistance in getting Bill’s diabetes medication, and provided visits to the CLC Lifeline Market for food every two weeks. Bill’s family is able to stay in their home, all utilities working, food in the pantry, and Bill taking his prescribed medication.

Visits with the case manager to determine assistance for the next month are scheduled. Perhaps the strengthening, albeit moderate, job market will give Bill the opportunity he is looking for to return to work. At some point they may again be a two-income family.

But, at the moment of need, when events converged – events that could swamp over 50% of local families – CLC was there: with help, with hope. And, all because of the power of your support.

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